Select Branson Surname Genealogy

The Branson surname is derived from a place-name Branston, of which at one time there were many - mainly in the Midlands.   Branston means a farm (tun) cleared by burning (brandr).  Branston pickle originated from the Branston community of Burton-on-Trent in Derbyshire.  Other Branstons were in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, and Suffolk.

Branson is the main surname spelling.  But there are some Branstons.

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Select Branson Ancestry

England.  The first surname sightings appear to have been in Suffolk.  A Gilbert de Branteston can be found in the Suffolk pipe rolls of 1200.  The will of Edmund Branston was recorded at Capel St. Mary in 1465 and these Branstons were there a century or so later.  Then there were Bransons in Berkshire and Leicestershire.

The largest number of Bransons have come from Leicestershire.  The death of Elizabeth Branson was recorded in Husbands Bosworth in 1601.  William Branson was born in Whitwick near Loughborough in the 1740's and married Elizabeth Jesson there in 1762.  Later Bransons were to be found in Whitwick during the 19th century.  There were Bransons also by the early 1800's in Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire.  

One Branson line started in India in the early 1800's, but returned to England and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk later on in the century.  Sir George Branson, born there in 1871, was a judge and Privy Councillor.  His grandson is the entrepreneur Richard Branson.

America.  Various Bransons came to America in the late 1600's and early 1700's.  One branch were Quakers and came to Chester, Pennsylvania.  Other Bransons settled in Springfield, New Jersey.  Later Bransons moved to Virginia and to Missouri where there is a Branson township in the Ozark mountains today.

"Ruben Branson, a storekeeper and schoolmaster in his late 20's, started a general store near the mouth of the Roark creek and the White river in 1882.  The general store had a post office called 'the Branson Post Office.'"

Ruben Branson died in 1907 and was buried nearby.  Five years later the town was called Branson.  It is known today as a venue for country music.  There are not many Bransons in America, but the largest number of them are in Missouri.

Another Ruben Branson, one covered by his nephew Ivan Branson in his 1982 book Bones of the Bransons, was to be found in California gold mining country and had roots going back to Tennessee.

India.  The name Branson in Madras dates back to the 18th century.  Harry Wilkins Branson, born there in 1802, was via his son James the forebear of the entrepreneur Richard Branson.  Another of his sons Charles emigrated to New Zealand and ran Bransonís Hotel in Dunedin.  Gerald Branson, also in Dunedin, was the son of William Branson, a Madras QC.

.  Bransons were farm laborers from Titchmarsh in Huntingdonshire in the early 19th century and found the going hard.  They decided to emigrate and they left for South Australia in stages between 1848 and 1853.  Their descendants are numerous there today.

William Branson, convicted of sheep stealing in Leicester at this time, was transported on the Scindian to Western Australia.  He was able to receive an early pardon because of his rescue of a warder.  He married Margaret Mottram from Ireland in Perth and they raised ten children.  

Select Branson Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Branson Names

Clive Branson was an English artist and poet who fought in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the communists.
William Branson of Princeton University was a pioneer in the field of international economics.
Richard Branson is the entrepreneur and media figure who founded the Virgin Group.

Select Bransons Today
  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous in Leicestershire)
  • 4,000 in America (most numerous in Missouri) 
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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